AG Garland names Robert Hur as special counsel in Biden classified documents matter
Written by ABC Audio ALL RIGHTS RESERVED on January 12, 2023
(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday announced he has named former U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur as a special counsel in the Biden classified documents matter.
Hur, who has been appointed by former President Donald Trump as U.S. Attorney, is currently a litigation partner at a Washington, D.C. law firm.
Garland had tasked U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch with conducting a preliminary review of incident and Thursday he said Lausch had recommended a special counsel be named.
“On January 5th, 2023, Mr. Lausch briefed me on the results of his initial investigation and advised me that further investigation by a special counsel was warranted. Based on Mr. Lausch’s initial investigation, I concluded that, under the special counsel regulations, it was in the public interest to appoint a special counsel,” Garland said. “In the days since, while Mr. Lausch continued the investigation, the department identified Mr. Hur for appointment as special counsel.”
A senior Justice Department official said, “This is not a decision [Garland] made lightly but the regulations could not be more clear that based on the facts that resulted from U.S.Attorney Lausch’s initial investigation an appointment of a special counsel in this manner is required.”
“This is a textbook case of what is required under the regulations,” the official said.
Congressional Republicans have called on Garland to name a special counsel in the Biden case, just as he did with regard to the classified documents found at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Garland laid out more than previously known about of the timeline of how the documents came to be at the center of the investigation.
On the evening of Nov. 4, the National Archives inspector general contacted the Justice Department to say the White House had notified the Archives that documents bearing classification markings had been identified at the Penn Biden Center, Biden’s private office after he left as vice president, he aid.
On Nov. 9, FBI agents commenced an assessment to understand whether classified information had been mishandled, according to Garland.
Garland said he then asked Lausch, a Trump appointee, to conduct an initial investigation on whether to appoint a special counsel, which Garland did on Thursday.
On Dec. 20, President Biden’s personal counsel informed Lausch that additional documents bearing classification markings were identified in the garage of Wilmington, Delaware, home.
ABC News has also learned that the FBI has interviewed multiple Biden aides.
On Jan. 5, Lausch advised Garland further investigation by a special counsel was warranted.
In the days since, Garland said, Lausch continued the investigation, and the Justice Department identified Hur for appointment as special counsel.
On Thursday morning, President Biden’s personal counsel called Lausch and stated that an additional document bearing classification markings was identified at the president’s personal residence in Wilmington.
Earlier this week, the White House said lawyers for President Biden had also found classified documents from 2013 to 2016 in his office at the Penn Biden Center – a think tank in Washington, in November.
Asked about the latest documents revelation Thursday morning, Biden said, “The Department of Justice was immediately — as was done, the Department of Justice was immediately notified and the lawyers arranged for the Department of Justice to take possession of the documents.
“So you’re going to see, we’re going to see all this unfold,” he said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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